Life after lockdown: Energy

Powering a greener, cleaner future

Our insatiable need for energy hasn’t changed during the coronavirus pandemic – although pressures on the grids have moved from supplying major manufacturing and retail hubs to powering people’s improvised home offices.

It has revealed how the world needs to manage a transition to greener and renewable energy effectively, both reducing the impact on the environment and for energy security when supply chains are disrupted.

In the UK, the national grid needed no coal-produced electricity for the entirety of April and May thanks to the strides made on putting renewable energy sources in place – and, of course, the favourable weather – while research from Imperial’s Business School showed how even power-hungry regions such as the USA, UK and Europe saw investments in renewable energy providing greater returns than traditional fossil fuels over the past few months.

Recovery and budgetary response packages across the globe are prioritising a green economy, providing subsidies for environmentally-sensitive practices and support for developing a workforce whose outputs will reduce the impacts, and hopefully mitigate the effects, of climate change.

Read some of the case studies where researchers from Imperial College London have worked with industry partners to improve business practice.

The energy sector will be a core part of this, and from retrofitting insulation in properties to make homes more efficient through to carbon capture, electric vehicles and guiding customers to make better financial and environmental decisions, Imperial’s experts and startups are at the forefront of this work.

Check out a focused page on energy policy and helping customers adjust to more environmentally-sensitive energy consumption.

Expert consultancy and commentary in the energy sector

The College’s academics have been involved in high-profile work across the world, such as providing expert commentary on the global energy markets, informing sustainable investment advice to international financial organisations and designing service enhancements for energy providers.

Furthermore, a new membrane developed by researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a team led by Professor Andrew Livingston from Imperial’s department of Chemical Engineering and ExxonMobil could help reduce carbon emissions and energy use associated with refining crude oil. By substituting the low-energy membranes for certain steps in the refining process, the new technology might one day contribute to a hybrid refining system that could help reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption significantly compared to traditional refining processes.

Whether you’re a company working in the energy sector, a policy-maker or looking for ways to cut your energy costs in order to make your business more efficient, our range of services, startups and technology licenses at Imperial will help you build a more resilient, more sustainable and greener future for your organisation.

Retrofit your insulation remotely

While social distancing is still in place in many areas, how can you capitalise on the £3 billion investment from the UK Government to retrofit buildings with insulation? Q-Bot Ltd., which employs robots to do the hard labour, provides a unique insulation solution.

Bulb Energy research

Experts from our Centre for Environmental Policy worked with Bulb Energy, the UK’s fastest-growing energy supplier, to enhance their customers’ carbon footprint tracker, which will reduce the amount of energy their customers use, as well as enabling investment in carbon offsetting projects around the world.

Freezer power increase expected to keep food fresh

A partnership between Sainsbury’s, the Grantham Institute at Imperial and our Department of Chemical Engineering showed that freezers will consume 6% more power in the coming years to cope with the impacts of climate change on food supply in stores and on food supply chains.

Find out how Imperial can help you with your specific needs be they immediate or a longer term goal.

Imperial startup Ceres Power was recently valued at over £600 million – the UK’s cleantech company – while fuel cell startups Bramble Energy and RFC Power are also well-positioned to enable transitions to energy storage solutions.

Monitoring power grids in real time

As supplies move from major power stations and national grids to local and private energy creation and storage facilities, keeping track of acute issues is vital to ensure that homes, houses and districts stay online. A monitoring technology for smart grids will empower more resilient network management.

Invest in crowdsourcing your power

Imperial startup Sitigrid enables individuals and property managers to install solar panels on their buildings and share power across their networks. Enquire about investment opportunities in their technology.

Empowering social change through energy security

Oorja, founded by Chemical Engineer Dr Clementine Chambon, has revolutionised local energy production and security in rural communities in India. In turn, it has empowered those communities to invest time and resources on enhancing agricultural production and economic development.

Analysing the future of the UK’s energy sector

Working with Drax, one of UK’s biggest electricity producers, Dr Iain Staffell and a team of academics provide regular data analysis and narrative about the future of the energy sector in the UK, enabling the company to move towards more sustainable production.

Specialists in energy consultancy

Galvanic Energy, a consultancy operation led by our experienced innovators and academics at the College, provides specialist expertise on a range of aspects of the energy sector, in particular about emerging trends and how to capitalise on renewable and sustainable energy management.

Latest news

Using ultrasound to assess women with pelvic pain, including endometriosis – 23 Sept

Using ultrasound to assess women with pelvic pain, including endometriosis – 23 Sept

ISUOG approved webinar for radiologists, sonographers, gynaecologists, sonologists and trainees providing best practice for using ultrasound for women presenting with pelvic pain and the clinical application of current knowledge on the diagnosis of deep endometriosis. 12 noon UK. read more

Collaborating to beat cyber threats

Collaborating to beat cyber threats

Cyber Security regularly rears its head in the press, with the government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) clocking up 1,131 incidents since last October. To manage the risk industry, government and academics from a multitude of disciplines are joining forces. read more

Global methane emissions rising at alarming rate

Global methane emissions rising at alarming rate

Our analysis shows that increased human activities are the most likely cause advises Dr Apostolos Voulgarakis. The Global Methane Budget charts the sources and sinks of global methane from our atmosphere. Its 2016 update shows that methane in the atmosphere has increased by 150 percent since the year 1750, and is responsible for 20 percent of the global warming produced by all greenhouse gases so far. read more

Related case studies

Informing the debate on Britain’s electricity system

Informing the debate on Britain’s electricity system

The electricity sector is currently undergoing unprecedented changes, including obligations to decarbonise and pressure to keep bills down. With old coal being driven off the system, new nuclear given the go-ahead, prices reaching new highs and lows, and clean energy overtaking fossil fuels for the first time, there is an increasing need for a strong evidence base and robust analysis. read more

Freshwater control system

Freshwater control system

Expertise in hydrological modelling helped PyTerra demonstrate the potential of new smart technology to reduce downstream flooding. read more

Efficient mango drying

Efficient mango drying

Our consultants shared their exertise in sustainable energy solutions in helping global fair-trade company Fullwell Mill to increase energy efficiency of their mango production process. read more